Last month I was fortunate to be able to go to Israel (10th -17th of January). I has been a very transformative experience and given me a great deal to reflect upon. I plan to share some of the images over the next few days…..
May the God who called our father Abraham to journey into the unknown, and guarded him and blessed him, protect me too and bless my journey.
May his confidence support me as I set out, may his spirit be with me on the way, and may he lead me back to my home in peace.
Those I love, I commend to his care. He is with them, I shall not fear.
As for myself, may his presence be my companion, so that blessing may come to me and to everyone I meet.
Blessed are you, Lord. Whose presence travels with his people.
The invitation from the Chief Executive Office of the Council for Christians and Jews to join a group of clergy on a visit to Israel came as a welcome surprise. The aim of the visit was to take an overview and to grapple and explore the present situation in Israel in the context of its conflicts over land and borders. The tour of twelve clergy was led by the Bishop of Manchester who is the Chairman of the Council for Christian and Jews.
It was a transformative experience. We travelled throughout the country over eight full days into the heart of the historic narratives that shape and disfigure our understanding of what might make for peace in this troubled land.
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5When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:
3 ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 ‘Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 ‘Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 ‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 ‘Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 ‘Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely* on my account. 12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. <!– 13 –>
13 ‘You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.
14 ‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. <!– 17 –>
Capernaum: The town of Jesus
When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’
20And he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21Then he began to say to them, ‘Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ 22All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth. They said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ 23He said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, “Doctor, cure yourself!” And you will say, “Do here also in your home town the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.” ’ 24And he said, ‘Truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in the prophet’s home town. 25